History of glassmaking in the region of Havlíčkův Brod

Havlíčkův Brod has a famous tradition in the glass industry. Read a brief overview of the history of glassmaking in our region.

Almost thirty glass factories in the Havlíčkův Brod area participated in the glory of the Czech glassmaking of the 18th and 19th centuries. They were founded by glassmasters from the famous glassworks of Adler, Capek, Eisner and Kavalier. The first stage of the flourishing of the local glassworks dates back to the first half of the 18th century, when over ten glassworks are known. Before 1700, the existence of a smelter has not yet been proven. We do not know the form of the first smelters here. However, they were characterized by wooden structures, as evidenced by the precious sketch of the Dobrá Voda glassworks from 1753. The average production capacity was 8-10 pans, which corresponded to 20 to 30 members of masters, journeymen, apprentices and helpers. The Baroque glass was made clear and unpainted – greenish, which was called “forest.” Quite rarely, the enamel was stained blue, green or red. The most common shapes were cups, goblets, cups, bottles, vials. The documentary about the local production of beer and wine glasses comes from Hoglov’s smelter.

The second founding period of the glassworks dates back to the end of the 18th century. The Loukov factory at Melechov produced glass for the Netherlands. Until recently, the active glassworks in Tasice from 1796 produced first-class chalk glass of all kinds supplied for further processing into northern Bohemia. The report illustrates the prosperity of the business even in economically difficult times, according to which five to six traders were still present at the iron works in the autumn of 1810, waiting for four or more weeks for the goods ordered. Among the Tasic products, in 1844, chandeliers exported to India are listed. The most distinctive period of glassmaking was between 1820 and 1860. In addition to common utility goods, the glassworks produced late-Empire shapes and decorations, glass decorated with grinding and cutting, richly shaped Biedermeier glass and second rococo. New techniques were applied – layering, glazing and enamel staining. Cutting shops and painting shops for products were established in glassworks, hollow glass semi-products were exported to northern Bohemia for further refining and subsequent export.

The most famous of the glassworks of the Upper and Lower Posázaví, which the traders of that time used to call “Czech smelters”, was Dobrá Voda, from which a glass-master house, known as a manor, was preserved. In the beginning, she produced window and mirror glass. In the middle of the 1930s, the second antiquarian glass factory in Dobrnice supplied its products to Holland, Hamburg and America. Every year it produced a million and a quarter of glasses of different kinds. In the Sv. Edward in Úsobí, built in 1831, produced export glass for department stores in Livorno, Florence, Siena, Comora, Milan, Veracruz and Lima. The glassworks is connected with the invention of glass-etched printing by Riedl, a printer in Germany, patented in 1858.

After some stagnation in glassmaking, a boom in the mid-twenties of the 20th century occurred. In the district there was the biggest glass production in Úsobí, where there was a big grinding shop. Owing to the huge interest in crystal glass, the owners joined the German glassworks in Košťany. The glassworks also cooperated with metallurgical works in Antonínodol, Horní Bradlo and Růženín and it was helped by small surrounding grinding shops in the Tower and Lípa. In 1945, the grinding shop was incorporated into the newly formed n.p. Bohemia glassworks and grinding shops.